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Global Nutrition Report 2017

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The Global Nutrition Report 2017, launched today at the Global Nutrition Summit in Milan, Italy, highlights the need for an urgent and integrated response to global nutrition if we are to meet the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030.

With almost every country in the world facing a serious nutrition-related challenge, whether from undernutrition or obesity, the report authors call for a critical change in the global response to malnutrition in all its forms and action throughout the goals to tackle the many causes of malnutrition.

The report finds that 88% of the 140 countries studied face a serious burden of either two or all of the three forms of malnutrition used as indicators for broader trends: childhood stunting, anaemia in women of reproductive age, and overweight adult women.

Rates of undernutrition in children are decreasing, but not quickly enough to meet internationally agreed nutrition goals Almost one in three women of reproductive age worldwide is affected by anaemia, and rates continue to rise Overweight and obesity are on the rise in almost every country. Based on current trends, there is less than a 1 per cent chance of meeting the global target of halting the rise in obesity and diabetes by 2025. Key findings highlight the impact that this burden is having on broader global development efforts, and the report calls for nutrition to be placed at the heart of efforts to end poverty, fight disease, raise educational standards and tackle climate change.

Although global spending by donors on nutrition-specific interventions reached US$867 million in 2015, a 2 per cent increase over 2014, it fell as a proportion of official development assistance (ODA). It is estimated that US$70 billion will be needed over the next 10 years to achieve global nutrition targets.[1] Analysis shows that governments spend more on interventions that address the underlying causes of malnutrition than they do on nutrition-specific interventions.

In addition, only 0.01% of ODA was spent on nutrition-related non-communicable diseases, despite the significant global burden they represent. So in addition to ‘turbo-charging’ investment, there is an opportunity and need to finance a more integrated approach to improving nutrition through exploring existing flows and innovative financing mechanisms.

The Global Nutrition Report 2017 also underlines the need to tackle the data gaps that are hindering accountability and progress. Better and disaggregated data on all forms of malnutrition and their financing in all countries is needed to ensure no one is left behind in Agenda 2030, and to inform evidence-based decision-making at the policy level.

Development Initiatives (DI) is the host of the Global Nutrition Report 2017 and is responsible for its design and publication. The report is an independently produced annual stock-take of the state of the world’s nutrition. It tracks global nutrition targets on maternal, infant, and young child nutrition and on diet-related non-communicable diseases adopted by member states of the World Health Organization, as well as governments’ delivery against their commitments.

Development Initiatives’ Board Member and Strategic Adviser Judith Randel sits on the Independent Expert Group, and DI also contributed data analysis on nutrition financing to the report.